MWC, the smartphone industry's biggest annual trade show, won't happen this year. On Wednesday, the GSMA, the organization that puts together the event, said it's cancelling MWC 2020 over coronavirus-related concerns. The trade show was scheduled to run between February 24th and 27th.
"With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event," the GSMA said.
Last year, more than 100,000 people attended MWC. Many of those individuals were either based in China or worked for Chinese companies. The coronavirus has hit China hardest of all. As of this week, the number of confirmed cases increased to over 42,000, and more than 1,000 people diagnosed with the virus in China have died.
The announcement comes after several large companies, including Amazon, LG, Sony and NVIDIA, said they plan to skip the conference to keep their employees safe from the virus. Before today's cancellation, a CNET report said Samsung had planned to scale back its presence at the event as well.
In most cases, we likely won't have to wait long to see whatever devices those companies had planned to announce at MWC. Sony, for instance, said it would unveil its newest phones on YouTube. LG, meanwhile, plans to hold separate events in the "near future" to reveal its first batch of handsets for 2020.
Here's the full statement from the GSMA:
Since the first edition of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2006, the GSMA has convened the industry, governments, ministers, policymakers, operators and industry leaders across the broader ecosystem.
With due regard to the safe and healthy environment in Barcelona and the host country today, the GSMA has cancelled MWC Barcelona 2020 because the global concern regarding the coronavirus outbreak, travel concern and other circumstances, make it impossible for the GSMA to hold the event.
The Host City Parties respect and understand this decision.
The GSMA and the Host City Parties will continue to be working in unison and supporting each other for MWC Barcelona 2021 and future editions.
Our sympathies at this time are with those affected in China, and all around the world.